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The Science of Food Addiction with Dr. Ashley Gearhardt, Part 1

Marchelle and I have an absolute treat for you today! We've got the amazing Dr. Ashley Gearhardt joining us to share her expertise on Processed Food Addiction - a topic she is one of the leading lights in worldwide. 

During her grad school years at Yale, Dr. Gearhardt noticed that when people battling with obesity discussed food, it sounded very similar to the way people struggling with addiction talked about drugs like nicotine or alcohol. So, Dr. Gearhardt developed The Yale Food Addiction Scale, and wouldn't you know it … Her research showed people did experience the same cravings and loss of control as other substances- fascinating stuff!

Dr. Gearhardt now has the evidence to prove that munching tasty treats like pizza or chips is pretty darn close to puffing away at cigarettes in terms of addiction! This one had us thinking big…

You are going to love our conversation today, Dr. Gearhardt just blew us away with her knowledge and there are a lot of aha’s from this interview. 

This interview comes in 2 parts - here is Part 1; Enjoy!


Episode Highlights: 

(19:55) You typically protect children and teens against marketing and accessibility (to addictive substances) and all these sorts of things. But for kids and teens, these foods with this addictive potential is the main source of calories that they're getting, and they're the huge marketing target for the industry.

(24:23) These foods are really engineered and designed to be appealing, to grab us, to challenge us. And they really use our most inherent evolutionary biology against us. Dying of famine was one of our biggest threats. And our reward systems are shaped by really calorically dense foods to really wake up the dopamine system and make us want it, and make us desire it.

(31:16) Reminding yourself all the reasons why it's not going to be as fulfilling as you thought, or how you're gonna feel five minutes afterwards, or reminding yourself what your values are. You're trying to have different healthy eating goals. All of those things can help, we know that cravings come and they peak and they go down on their own. 

(34:07) We've generally had this perspective that self-control is a muscle and that it wears out and there's some evidence for that. But there's also evidence that people will do better if instead they kind of think of self control is the more you use it, the more it works.


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